Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Not so dirty: Methane fuels life in pristine chalk rivers

Date:
April 1, 2014
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
Scientists have found that naturally high concentrations of the greenhouse gas methane contributes to energy production in chalk rivers.

The clear waters of chalk rivers sustain a diverse range of protected animals and plants. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London were surprised to find that naturally high concentrations of the greenhouse gas methane contributes to energy production in chalk rivers in a new study.
Credit: Queen Mary University of London

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London have found that naturally high concentrations of the greenhouse gas methane contributes to energy production in chalk rivers, in a new study published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Related Articles


Chalk rivers, found from Dorset to Cambridgeshire, sustain a diverse range of protected animals and plants, and are renowned globally for fly fishing, an industry worth more than 4M on the Rivers Test and Itchen (Hampshire) alone.

"It's a surprise to find methane is such a big source of energy in these gin-clear waters, famed for their luxuriant plant growth," said co-author Professor Mark Trimmer, Head of the Aquatic Ecology Group at Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

The researchers analysed the methane concentration in over 30 rivers in Southern England, including the River Lambourn in Berkshire.

PhD student and co-author Felicity Shelley, who led the analysis, said: "In the riverbed of the Lambourn, the contribution of energy derived from methane to the food web varied seasonally, peaking in the summer when the concentrations were highest and trees and plants shaded the riverbed.

"The rapid growth of aquatic plants during the summer months prevents light from reaching the river bed and limits photosynthesis. Particular types of bacteria consume methane creating food for grazing insects, and consequently, the rest of the food web, including trout."

The research could have implications for the agriculture sector, which contributes to more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions. For example, fine sediments, washed into rivers from farmland used to grow crops are known to be sources of methane gas.

Professor Trimmer added: "We used to think energy from the breakdown of chemicals was only substantial in dark places where photosynthesis is impossible like deep oceans. Our findings require us to rethink what we know about chemosynthetic production."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. F. Shelley, J. Grey, M. Trimmer. Widespread methanotrophic primary production in lowland chalk rivers. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2014; 281 (1783): 20132854 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2854

Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "Not so dirty: Methane fuels life in pristine chalk rivers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401210416.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2014, April 1). Not so dirty: Methane fuels life in pristine chalk rivers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401210416.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "Not so dirty: Methane fuels life in pristine chalk rivers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401210416.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Homes Threatened by Washington Landslide

Raw: Homes Threatened by Washington Landslide

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) The city of Des Moines, Washington says it could be weeks before a landslide that damaged several homes settles, according to KOMO. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Models in Masks Highlight Indonesian Environmental Devastation

Models in Masks Highlight Indonesian Environmental Devastation

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) Wearing gas masks and designer dresses, models condemn the fashion industry&apos;s role in causing environmental devastation. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

California on Alert Over Surge in Sea Lion Strandings

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) Since the start of the year, thousands of baby sea lions have washed up on beaches along the west coast of the United States. Marine animal care centers are working around the clock to save the stranded creatures. Duration: 02:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dutch Architects Show Off 3D House-Building Prowess

Dutch Architects Show Off 3D House-Building Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Dutch architects are constructing a 3D-printed canal-side home, which they hope will spark an environmental revolution in the house-building industry. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins